VGo robot for Children's Hospital

My name is Cris Colaluca, and I am raising money to donate additional VGo robots to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. This is my senior project and sponsored by Vecna Cares, a 501(c)3 organization.   (Donations are tax deductible.)

All donations will go into a fund earmarked for the robots at Vecna Cares.  When the project ends, the robots will be purchased and donated to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.  Any funds left over will remain with the Vecna Cares foundation to cover administrative costs and other projects.  If the goal is not met, we will use the funds to purchase as many robots as possible.  Updates will be posted here.  

Pleasefollow us on twitter at @CrisColaluca, @VecnaCares @vgocom @ChildrensPgh - lots of exciting things are happening.  And, check the websites listed below.

A BIG THANK YOU to Verizon and singer Jimmy Wayne:

About me:  I am the first student in Pennsylvania, and the second in the country, to attend school in this way.  In May, I will be the first student in PA using a robot for high school to graduate.

I’ve been using a VGo for six years, and I know that changes someone’s life.  When I was six years old, I developed a rare seizure disorder that made me very sick.  I wasn’t able to attend school.  For seven years, I was isolated, had no contact with other children, and barely had reading and math instruction.  My education suffered, and my family worried for my future.

When I was ready to enter seventh grade, a new world opened up for me when the school administration changed.  The Technology Director, Mrs. Theresa McConnell, along with the Assistant Superintendent, Mrs. Lorree Houk, ordered a VGo for me to test.  It changed my life. (Press links about my experiences are below. )

VGo has helped me attend school and opened the doors to learning.  Because of VGo, I’ve reconnected with my peers and experienced life outside of my home, giving me a more positive outlook on life.  In May 2016, I was inducted into the National Honor Society.  This couldn’t have happened without VGo.  The VGo experience cannot be replicated with another program or device.

In October 2015, I used my Make-A-Wish to donate a VGo to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.  It was the hospital’s first robot. (story below.) Unfortunately, it can only be used by one patient at a time. I hope that by having multiple robots, children who spend extended time in the hospital can have the same experience that I do. 

Someday, I want to start a foundation for this cause.
Until then, please help me raise $35,000 to purchase VGo robots for The Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.  This money will cover three VGo Robots as well as other fees and services pertaining to the bots and this fundraising effort.

I would like to thank everyone who has supported me in this project:  Nick Maiorano, Judy Campagna, Lorree Houk, Dr. Andrew Urbach, Bern Terry, Vecna Cares, VGo, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Clark’s Studio, Mohawk Area School District, and my family.

All donations are appreciated. Thank you for taking time to listen to my story.

Cris Colaluca

Press Coverage:
KDKA Pittsburgh:  Dave Crawley -

Pittsburgh Tribune Review: Rachel Weaver

New Castle News: Renee Gandreau -

WQED Pittsburgh 360: Roboclass

Pittsburgh Tribune Review: Rachel Weaver and Justin LaBar - New Castle teen uses robot to continue learning from home

New Castle News: Dan Irwin - Someday Cris Colaluca Wants to Drive a Train

WTAE: Sheldon Ingram - Robot Allows 7th Grader with Spina Bifida to Attend Class from Home

KDKA: Dave Crawley - Local Boy Attends School Through Interactive Robot

New Castle News: Renee Gandreau -  Mohawk-teen-who-relies-on-robot-to-attend-school-donates

WPXI  Teen with rare disorder pays it forward, donates robot to Children's Hospital

KDKA : Dave Crawley - Children’s Hospital Gets Robot To Help Patients Virtually Attend Events

WTAE A student, a robot and a wish: Paying it forward in a futuristic way

Tribune Review, Rachel Weaver - Cris Colaluca's Make-A-Wish is to pass on the same kind of benefits he got

Tribune Review, Justin LaBar  - A Boy Uses A Robot To Go To School

Make-A-Wish  Make-A-Wish grants teen’s wish to donate VGo robot to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh

Donations (0)

  • Shawn Semmler 
    • $25 
    • 25 mos
  • Bernice Brightbill 
    • $100 
    • 28 mos
  • Catherine Smith 
    • $35 
    • 28 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $10 
    • 28 mos
  • Monique Nicole Desir 
    • $15 
    • 28 mos

Organizer and beneficiary 

Vecna Cares / Paul Amendola, Exec. Director 
Cambridge, MA
Deborah Theobald 
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